It's been a while since I've tested any recipes but I have finally gotten around to trying out this one, and it was pretty good. I found this recipe in Shape magazine, another one of my favorites that I've been reading for years. So here you go, enjoy - my notes are included in italics and at the bottom of the recipes in the cryptically named "NOTES" section.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender buds, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and brought to room temperature (I just used whatever butter I had on hand, I have no clue if it was salted or unsalted, and I was too impatient to wait for it to get to room temperature and it seemed to turn out fine)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk (or whatever buttermilk you have on hand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin pan. To make the batter, whisk together flour, lavender, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, lemon juice, and zest. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture until just combined. Beat in half the buttermilk, followed by another third of the flour, then the remaining buttermilk and flour.
Fill cupcake liners about two-thirds full and bake for 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Thanks again to Shape magazine for the recipe, from the August 2009 issue
Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I just used Crisco sticks)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar (approximately a 1 pound bag... and I never bothered with sifting it)
2 tablespoons milk
Few drops yellow food coloring, if desired
1-2 tablespoons of lemon zest, if desired
In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with an electric mixer. Add lemon extract. Gradually add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in the icing will look dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
If you have left over frosting after topping your cupcakes, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
NOTES: These cupcakes were pretty good, but if I make it again I think I'll leave out the lavender or else put less in, even though I generally like the smell of lavender. But then maybe I'm just not an eating lavender type of person so use your own judgement. And for the frosting, if you have extra left over you could either use it on some other frosting friendly baked good (cookies or cake or more cupcakes, something like that) or you could try sandwiching it between two graham crackers as a snacky thing - that's one way we typically use up extra frosting.